Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A lazy post

Stuff from elsewhere, links and embedded.

Walter Benjamin on the radio. There's a good basic intro on Radio 4's Thinking Allowed, and, going up a notch, a lecture by George Steiner, broadcast originally in 1997 (Steiner sounds uncannily like Jacob Bronowsky, there are only a couple of weeks left to listen to that one). Finally Michael Rosen talking about his radio broadcasts for children made in Berlin in the 1920s and 30s, the scripts of which are due to appear in English translation soon. I find Rosen a bit irritating, not quite sure why, he sometimes seems rather self-satisfied and intrusive as a presence, and the programme contains a certain amount of padding and duplication at the expense of the source material, but there are some fascinating and shivery stories and details in there. I didn't know about Benjamin at all until quite lately and still don't know much; but his name seems to come up more; Heather was a great admirer, and now I begin to see why.


On a lighter note, for those of us never quite sure when to use 'vous' and when 'tu' (vousvoyer/tutoyer), here's a guide in flow chart form.


And lighter still, my Niece Who Makes Me Laugh started the day for me appropriately by e-mailing this video, which I've surely seen before but not for a long time.


 Well, I never said I'd be original every day, did I?


Zhoen said...

Enlightened laziness. Getting the job done, without wasted effort. So you can sit down and have a nice cup of tea.

Catalyst said...

There's nothing like sharing your source wisdom, I always say. Done it myself, now and then. Thanks, Lucy.

Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Great video! And those posh 1940s British accents!! Does anyone, apart from the Queen, talk like that anymore?

Roderick Robinson said...

take it you do eschew Geroge Steiner from time to time (so casually name-dropped). Perhaps you've watched Spiral a Parisian cops and robbers series where everyone is in an acute state of moral decay or - in the case of cop Gigou - just plain unlucky. Discharging his piece (that's his gun, not what you're thinking) in a house of ill-repute to gain attention he points the barrel upwards and has the misfortune to shoot someone in the ass three floors above. I'm pretty sure you haven't watched Spiral and can give seven good reasons why.

The argot is impenetrable but it's instructive in one sense: nearly all the characters are good at using "tu" in a way that that is unmistakably insulting. Leaving you in no doubt whatsoever.

Geroge Steiner wrote a novel about Hitler having a bad time in South America. I am not recommending it, just showing I can name-drop too.

Avus said...

Ah, the dangers of "vous" and "tu" for the unwary. I was involved with a re-enactment group giving displays in France and the mayor of Bavay hosted a grand banquet for us on evening. I was placed next to his wife. To be polite I called up my schoolboy French (I have never been a fluent linguist)to talk to her. During this I addressed her as "tu" - I almost froze from the subsequent frostbite! She turned away and never talked to me for the rest of the evening.

Lucy said...

Thanks all.

Z - quite so, and I probably did!

Bruce - I don't seem to find as much good and entertaining material as you though.

Natalie - I don't think so, and many people who did don't any more; David Dimbleby on a programme was watch a film he made as a very young man, where he said his brother went up a rockface 'lake a ket' for 'like a cat', and he said he couldn't believe he ever spoke like that. We seem to have undergone a vowel shift, all except the queen, of course, who presumably doesn't have vowel shifts but has servants to have them for her...

Robbie - oh dear, should I eschew him then? I know even less of him than of WB, ie nothing, in fact, so am in no position to either name drop nor eschew! I only heard the radio broadcast. I shall find out more. I have been curious about 'Spiral', but feared the combination of violence, subtitles and devious plots would probably be too much.

Avus - nice to see you! That's just plain silly, some people won't make any allowances. In fact one or two of the things on the flow chart were different from my experience - the parents-in-law are still generally 'vous' in most families, and when I taught older students, I really was young enough often to be their daughter but they still found it very difficult to call me anything but 'vous', it seemed such a reflex.